Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: The Queen's Rivals by Brandy Purdy (CLOSED)



The Queen's Rivals by Brandy Purdy
Kensington
June 2013
Format: Paperback, 368 pages
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours


Their ambitions were ordinary, but they were born too close to the throne...

As cousins of history's most tempestuous queens, Ladies Jane, Katherine, and Mary Grey were born in an age when all of London lived beneath the Tower's menacing shadow. Tyrannized by Bloody Mary and the Virgin Queen, the sisters feared love was unthinkable —and the scaffold all but unavoidable...

Raised to fear her royal blood and what it might lead men to do in her name, Mary Grey dreads what will become of herself and her elder sisters under the reigns of Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I. On their honor, they have no designs on the crown, yet are condemned to solitude, forbidden to wed. Though Mary, accustomed to dwelling in the shadows, the subject of whispers, may never catch the eye of a gentleman, her beautiful and brilliant sisters long for freedoms that would surely cost their lives. And so, wizened for her years, Mary can only hope for divine providence amid a bleak present and a future at the whim of the throne — unless destiny gains the upper hand.

A gripping and bittersweet tale of broken families and broken hearts, courage and conviction, The Queen's Rivals recounts an astonishing chapter in the hard-won battle for the Tudor throne.

My thoughts: Ever since picking up Phillipa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl, I've been obsessed with any and all books about the Tudors and that time period in England. With each book I read, I find I learn more about all the major players of the time. This latest book by Brandy Purdy was certainly no exception and what I found to be most interesting is that it really paired well with another book I recently listened to, Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey by Alison Weir.

The Queen's Rivals is about the three Grey sisters: Jane, the brilliant one; Kate, the beautiful one; and Mary, the beastly little one; and is told from Mary's point of view, the one sister to outlive the others. Born with an affliction that caused her to be a dwarf, Mary was a unique choice for narrating this tale as she was mainly kept in the background and therefore observed much more than everyone probably realized. These three sisters find themselves to be pawns during a tumultuous time in England.

I've read a few books where Jane Grey, better known as the Nine Days Queen, is featured and so I knew a bit about her, but there's not as much out there about the other two sisters. It's easy to feel for these girls, who just want to live their lives the way they choose. Besides having a mother that is basically just horrible - all she cares about is appearances and how far she can rise within the court - they have to deal with pleasing their queen. They are not free to marry at will, and it is this basic right that leads to the downfall of Kate Grey. Even Mary, disfigured though she is, is really not free to follow her heart when she finally does fall in love.

This is the second book I've read by Brandy Purdy, having read The Queen's Pleasure, last year. I love the way she really develops the characters she writes about. After finishing her books, I end up feeling as if I knew the characters a bit more intimately than I did before reading the book.

I will definitely be reading more of Brandy Purdy's books and will also be looking to see if there are any other books out there about the Grey sisters. Have you read anything about them?


GIVEAWAY DETAILS - CLOSED (US only) 
Thanks to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours I have one copy of The Queen's Rivals to give away to my readers.

To enter… 
  • For 1 entry leave me a comment entering the giveaway.
  • Tweet, share on Facebook, or blog for 2 extra entries.
  • Please include email address so I can contact you if you win.
This giveaway is open to US residents only and ends August 14th.  


Good luck!
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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Review: Wedding Belles by Beth Albright

Wedding Belles by Beth Albright
Series: Sassy Belles, #2
Harlequin MIRA
July 2013
Format: ARC, e-copy, 336 pages
Source: Netgalley via Kaye Publicity

The Sassy Belles are back...and this time, wedding bells are ringing!

Seven months pregnant and head over heels in love, Vivi Ann McFadden is busy pulling together the final details for her wedding to Lewis Heart, famous play-by-play announcer for the Crimson Tide. But with two wedding-planners-gone-wild, a psychic giving her advice, and the ceremony happening on the same day as the wildly popular Crimson Tide kickoff game, chaos reigns supreme. Luckily, maid of honor Blake O'Hara Heart is on the job. She'll tackle this wedding if it's the last thing she does!

But not everyone is cheering for the happy couple. News of the upcoming nuptials has brought Lewis's old flame back to Tuscaloosa and she's got a secret that could mean the end of Lewis's marriage before it even begins.

Sexy Southern fun...with a hint of magnolia!

My thoughts: This is the second book in Beth Albright's Sassy Belles series and it's such a fun series. I love the southern charm that just oozes off the pages.

In this installment, Vivi is getting ready to have all her dreams come true. She's getting married to Lewis, the love of her life, and having a baby. At seven months pregnant, she's hoping to walk down the aisle before the baby comes. But, she soon finds out that Lewis is actually already married - thanks to a college prank! Now it's up to her and Blake to find the girl and get the marriage annulled so things can go according to plan. 

In true southern style, Vivi wants everything to be perfect and so has hired the catering business, A Fru Fru Affair to help plan the joint baby shower/wedding shower. I just loved these guys - they are completely over the top and crazy - perfect additions to the cast of characters. Not that the book needed any more comedy, but Coco and Jean-Pierre definitely provide some good laughs!

Picking up with where the first book left off, Blake and Sonny are trying to work out their new relationship. While she's still technically married to Harry and will stay so until after the election in November, she's moved out of their house and is living with Vivi. It's fun watching Blake and Sonny sneak around to catch stolen moments together. Of course, though, they need to be extra vigilant with nosy Dallas hanging out...she's been told her job as reporter is on the line and needs to find the next big story.

I'm definitely hooked on this series and am looking forward to reading the next installment, Sleigh Belles, due out in September. I can't wait to see who's the focus of that book - though I'm secretly hoping we get to see more of that sneaky Dallas!

As I mentioned above, this book is set in the deep South and I just love all that southern charm that comes across in the story. While I've never been, I end up feeling as if I just has a nice visit after reading this series. Do you have a favorite setting for books, one that pulls you right in?


Books in this series:
  1. The Sassy Belles
  2. Wedding Belles
  3. Sleigh Belles - due out September 2013
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Monday, July 29, 2013

It's Monday...What Are You Reading? (7.29.13)



It’s Monday What Are you Reading , hosted by Sheila, is the perfect way for me to begin my week and allows me to focus on what needs to be read and to see what I have or have not accomplished the previous week. I also enjoy discovering new books by visiting other participants blogs.


My nephew came for a sleepover this week - he was with us for four days and it was so much fun! I forget how I love reading chapter books with kids. He's five, excited to start kindergarten and loves being read to. I introduced him to My Father's Dragon by Ruth Gannett and he loved it. I had the second book in the series, so I sent it home with him, plus I sent the first book home with him so his sister can read it. He was so excited to tell her all about it! I just love sharing my love of reading with young kids!!! 

For the month of August, I will be participating in Conquering the Book Stacks along with a bunch of twitter book friends. The object is not buy any new books but rather to read from the books already sitting on our shelves. I'll be posting my list of books I hope to read during the month on August 1st when it starts. Let me know if you're joining in!
 
Books Completed last week
  • Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand (library book)
  • Wedding Belles by Beth Albright (e-book review)
Reading Now:   
  • The Queen's Rivals by Brandy Purdy (review book)
  • The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan (mine, Book Lovers Unite Book Club read-a-long) 
  • The Witness by Nora Roberts (library audio book) - car
  • Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella (library audio book) - ipod
Next:    
  • Hunting Eve by Iris Johansen (library book)
  • The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan (review book)
  • The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro (review book)
 Reviews Completed last week:
 Other posts related to books:
Books for which I need to finish reviews:  
  • The Apple Orchard by SusanWiggs
  • A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
  • Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich
  • The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley
  • Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand
  • Wedding Belles by Beth Albright
Contest information:    

What about you?  What does your reading week look like this week?  Whatever it is, happy reading and have a good week!
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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (54) 7.28.13




Tynga of Tynga's Reviews is starting a new meme to spotlight the books we receive each week.  
    

Here's what I got:
 

Won:

Final Sentence
by Daryl Wood Gerber

I won this over at Traveling With T and I'm looking forward to reading it. This is the first in Daryl Wood Gerber's newest cozy mystery series, a Cookbook Nook Mystery...I just love cozy mysteries. Thanks T for the contest!!!

From Library:

Maine (audio)
by J. Courtney Sullivan

I've heard great things about both this book and this author - excited to listen to this!


What did you get this week?
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Friday, July 26, 2013

Review: Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich (audio)

Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich
Series: Stephanie Plum, #16
Read by Lorelei King
Macmillan Audio
2010
Length: 7 hours
Source: Library

Trenton, New Jersey, bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has inherited a “lucky” bottle from her Uncle Pip. Problem is, Uncle Pip didn’t specify if the bottle brought good luck or bad luck. . . .

BAD LUCK: Vinnie, of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds, has run up a gambling debt of $786,000 with mobster Bobby Sunflower and is being held until the cash can be produced. Nobody else will pay to get Vinnie back, leaving it up to Stephanie, office manager Connie, and file clerk Lula to raise the money.

GOOD LUCK: Being in the business of tracking down people, Stephanie, Lula, and Connie have an advantage in finding Vinnie. If they can rescue him, it will buy them some time to raise the cash.

BAD LUCK: Finding a safe place to hide Vinnie turns out to be harder than raising $786,000.

GOOD LUCK: Between a bonds office yard sale, a plan that makes Mooner’s Hobbit-Con look sane, and Uncle Pip’s lucky bottle, they just might raise enough money to save the business, and Vinnie, from ruin.

BAD LUCK: Saving Vincent Plum Bail Bonds means Stephanie can keep being a bounty hunter. This involves hunting down a man wanted for polygamy, a turnpike toilet paper bandit, and a drug dealer.

GOOD LUCK: The job of bounty hunter comes with perks in the guise of Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, and the dark and dangerous security expert, Ranger. With any luck at all, Uncle Pip’s lucky bottle will have Stephanie getting lucky---the only question is . . . with whom?

My thoughts: All of the Stephanie Plum books I've read/listened to so far, I think this is my favorite one by far. Between the comedy of errors that occurs on a regular basis when Stephanie and Lula are on a case to the zinger lines that the characters say, I think I actually laughed the entire way through this book.

In this installment, Stephanie, Lula and Connie all work together to find Vinnie, who's betting has gotten the best of him and has been kidnapped. Despite the fact that they really don't care if he's gone, they do like their jobs and realize that Vinnie needs to be found in order for them to continue working. What ensues is one fiasco after another, complete with a stampede of cattle in Trenton, a run-in with a pet alligator named Mr. Jingles and a yard sale at the bonds office of all the merchandize Vinnie has collected over the years.

And, once again Lula is on a diet...this time it's the 'One Diet' where she can eat only one of something. Of course, Lula configures this to her own liking. In the donut shop, instead of getting only one donut, she gets one of every type of donut and proceeds to eat them. And decides a carrot cake donut counts as a vegetable. Only Lula!

There's also the reappearance of Mooner who I find hysterical. He's constantly high and just seems to float through life in a cloud. He ends up having to watch Vinnie once the dynamic threesome finds him and it's nothing but comedy when Mooner is in charge.

I think one of the reasons I love this series so much is that it is so outrageously funny. I know I can listen to these books and will end up laughing within a few minutes. The characters are quite unique and just make for a good story.

Audio thoughts: Once again I find myself amazed how consistent Lorelei King is with the voices. Mooner hasn't been around for a few books and yet his voice was exactly as I remembered it from earlier books. She was definitely a good pick for narrating this series.




  *** Devourer of Books hosts Sound Bytes every Friday - a meme to share the audio books that everyone is listening to. Stop by and you just might find your next audio book!



 


Books in this series:

     1.  One for the Money                         12.  Twelve Sharp
     2.  Two for the Dough                         12.5  Plum Lovin'
     3.  Three to Get Deadly                      13.  Lean Mean Thirteen
     4.  Four to Score                                   13.5  Plum Lucky
     5.  High Five                                           14.  Fearless Fourteen
     6.  Hot Six                                                14.5  Plum Spooky
     7.  Seven Up                                           15.  Finger Lickin' Fifteen
     8.  Hard Eight                                         16.  Sizzling Sixteen
     8.5  Visions of Sugar Plums              17.  Smokin' Seventeen
     9.  To the Nines                                      18.  Explosive Eighteen
    10.  Ten Big Ones                                    19.  Notorious Nineteen
    11.  Eleven on Top
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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: The Shadow Tracer by Meg Gardiner (CLOSED)

Yesterday I posted my review of Meg Gardiner's latest thriller, The Shadow Tracer. You can find my thoughts on the book here. Today, I'm pleased to announce that thanks to Cassie at Dutton Books, I have one copy of the book to offer my readers.


The Shadow Tracer by Meg Gardiner 
Dutton Adult 
June 2013 
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages 
Source: Publicist
An explosive stand-alone thriller from the Edgar Award–winning writer Stephen King called “the next suspense superstar”.

Can a person ever really disappear for good by going off the grid? And what happens when vanishing is no longer an option?

Sarah Keller is a single mother to five-year-old Zoe, living quietly in Oklahoma. She’s also a skip tracer, an expert in tracking people who’ve gone on the lam to avoid arrest, prosecution, or debt—pinpointing their locations to bring them to justice.

When a school bus accident sends Zoe to the ER, their quiet life explodes. Zoe’s medical tests reveal what Sarah has been hiding: Zoe is not her daughter. Zoe’s biological mother—Sarah’s sister, Beth—was murdered shortly after the child’s birth. And Zoe’s father is missing and presumed dead.

With no way to prove her innocence, Sarah must abandon her carefully constructed life and go on the run. Chased by cops, federal agents, and the group responsible for Beth’s murder, Sarah embarks on a desperate journey. Can her knowledge as a skip tracer help her stay off the grid, remain one step ahead of her pursuers, and find a way to save her daughter?

GIVEAWAY DETAILS - CLOSED (US only) 
Thanks to Cassie at Dutton Books I have one copy of The Shadow Tracer to give away to my readers.
To enter… 


  • For 1 entry leave me a comment entering the giveaway.
  • Tweet, share on Facebook, or blog for 2 extra entries.
  • Please include email address so I can contact you if you win.
This giveaway is open to US residents only and ends August 6th.  


Good luck!
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Review: The Lavender Garden by Lucinda Riley

The Lavender Garden by Lucinda Riley
Atria Books
June 2013
Format: Paperback, 416 pages
Source: Publicist

An aristocratic French family, a legendary château, and buried secrets with the power to destroy two generations torn between duty and desire. 

La Côte d’Azur, 1998: In the sun-dappled south of France, Emilie de la Martinières, the last of her gilded line, inherits her childhood home, a magnificent château and vineyard. With the property comes a mountain of debt—and almost as many questions . . .

Paris, 1944: A bright, young British office clerk, Constance Carruthers, is sent undercover to Paris to be part of Churchill’s Special Operations Executive during the climax of the Nazi occupation. Separated from her contacts in the Resistance, she soon stumbles into the heart of a prominent family who regularly entertain elite members of the German military even as they plot to liberate France. But in a city rife with collaborators and rebels, Constance’s most difficult decision may be determining whom to trust with her heart.

As Emilie discovers what really happened to her family during the war and finds a connection to Constance much closer than she suspects, the château itself may provide the clues that unlock the mysteries of her past, present, and future. Here is a dazzling novel of intrigue and passion from one of the world’s most beloved storytellers.

My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by Lucinda Riley and I was captivated from the beginning. I enjoy reading stories set during WWII and find with each one that I learn something new. In this case, it was about how the Resistance force used anyone they felt to be qualified to work as spies, including women.

Utilizing what is quickly becoming one of my favorite ways of telling a story, Lucinda Riley takes two stories in two different time periods and weaves them together. The modern-day story line focuses on Emilie, who is dealing with the aftermath of her mother's death. Coming from a wealthy family, she is trying to figure out what to do with her inheritance - a chateau and vineyard, along with a ton of debt. During a trip to the chateau and the small town where it's located, she runs into Sebastian, whom we come to find out has a connection to the family home. His grandmother, Constance, stayed at the chateau during the war.

Constance is the focus of the story set in the past - during 1944 to be exact. With her husband away at war, she fills her time working in the war office in England and is soon tapped to become a spy in France. Trained with a motley group, it is quite clear she has an aptitude for this and is quickly sent to begin work. Unfortunately, her contacts have been discovered and she is forced to become enmeshed in a rather prominent family - who is none other than Emilie's father. 

Seamlessly moving back and forth between both time periods, secrets and connections are revealed as to why things are the way they are. Along the way, we see romances blossom, alliances formed, a mystery solved and family relationships revealed. It's easy to become captivated by both main female characters and to be mistrusting of other character when it comes to some of the relationships the develop.

Every once in a while, an author creates a character that you just causes you to question his or her motives. There is such a character in this book and not wanting to give anything away, I'll refrain from revealing who. Suffice it to say, my gut reaction to this character was spot on in the end!

I love reading about the history of old houses and families, and the way the wars affected the every day people. This book does so in such a way that you find yourself completely wrapped up in what's going on. Every time it switched from one story to the other, I was left wanting more and couldn't wait for it to switch back.

How do you feel about dual-time narratives?

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Review: The Shadow Tracer by Meg Gardiner

The Shadow Tracer by Meg Gardiner
Dutton Adult
June 2013
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Source: Publicist

An explosive stand-alone thriller from the Edgar Award–winning writer Stephen King called “the next suspense superstar”.

Can a person ever really disappear for good by going off the grid? And what happens when vanishing is no longer an option?

Sarah Keller is a single mother to five-year-old Zoe, living quietly in Oklahoma. She’s also a skip tracer, an expert in tracking people who’ve gone on the lam to avoid arrest, prosecution, or debt—pinpointing their locations to bring them to justice.

When a school bus accident sends Zoe to the ER, their quiet life explodes. Zoe’s medical tests reveal what Sarah has been hiding: Zoe is not her daughter. Zoe’s biological mother—Sarah’s sister, Beth—was murdered shortly after the child’s birth. And Zoe’s father is missing and presumed dead.

With no way to prove her innocence, Sarah must abandon her carefully constructed life and go on the run. Chased by cops, federal agents, and the group responsible for Beth’s murder, Sarah embarks on a desperate journey. Can her knowledge as a skip tracer help her stay off the grid, remain one step ahead of her pursuers, and find a way to save her daughter?

My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by Meg Gardiner and I loved it. I am a big fan of psychological thrillers and my usual go-to authors in this genre are Iris Johansen, James Patterson, Lisa Gardner, and most recently Tami Hoag. Well, now I have a new author to add to this list!

As a skip tracer, Sarah knows all the tricks to staying under the radar, which is a good thing because after a freak accident exposes her true identity, that's exactly what she needs to do to keep her enemies and even law enforcement from coming after her. In an instant not only do Sarah and her five year old daughter become the hunted, they also become the bait to lure the hunters out. 

There are many characters in this book that end up involved in this chase and as the book progresses we find out what their motivations are - some not quite as pure as you might hope given their profession. There is a lot of action and the twists and turns are so plentiful you don't want to put the book down for fear of missing anything.

I loved the interactions between Sarah and Lawless. He helped her once before, when Sarah was trying to get baby Zoe to safety and he told her to call him if she ever needed him. Now five years later, he jumps to action, giving her instructions and getting to her as soon as he can. There's something palpable between them - although nothing happens in the book - you just get the sense that if the story continued something might.

After reading this, I had hopes that it might possibly be the beginning of a series, but have since heard that it is just going to be a stand-alone. I'm bummed about that, but am glad I read the book. Now I'm going to check out some of her other books.

Do you enjoy psychological thrillers? If so, who are your go-to authors?

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It's Monday...What Are You Reading? (7.22.13)



It’s Monday What Are you Reading , hosted by Sheila, is the perfect way for me to begin my week and allows me to focus on what needs to be read and to see what I have or have not accomplished the previous week. I also enjoy discovering new books by visiting other participants blogs.


I'm glad the heat has finally broken here in NY. Last week was brutal and even the dog was miserable. Hoping to get a few early morning walks in this week - both for my sake and even the dog's! The heat just makes me tired...and not wanting to do much.

Books Completed last week
  • Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich (library audio book)
  • The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley (mine)
Reading Now:  
  • Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand (library book)
  • The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan (mine, Book Lovers Unite Book Club read-a-long) 
  • The Witness by Nora Roberts (library audio book) - car
  • Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella (library audio book) - ipod
Next:   
  • Wedding Belles by Beth Albright (e-book review)
  • The Queen's Rivals by Brandy Purdy (review book)
  • Vanish by Tess Gerritsen (library book)
 Reviews Completed last week:
Books for which I need to finish reviews
  • The Apple Orchard by SusanWiggs 
  • A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
  • Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich
  • The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley
Contest information:   

What about you?  What does your reading week look like this week?  Whatever it is, happy reading and have a good week!
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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mini-Bloggiesta...It's a Wrap!

 
This weekend I participated in a mini-Bloggiesta! I got a ton done and felt that it was very low-key and relaxed. I didn't even keep track of how much time I spent on my to-do list as I usually do, but still managed to get a lot done! 


I ended up accomplishing most of what I had on my list:

  • Write up all outstanding reviews that I need to post - COMPLETED
    • Wrote and scheduled 6 reviews and set up posts for 4 more
  • Set up posts for upcoming reviews - COMPLETED
    • Set up posts for 3 upcoming review tours
    • Set up posts for weekly memes for this week 
  • Update reading log and link reviews to log- COMPLETED
  • Update challenge lists and link reviews - COMPLETED
  • Update my blog planner/calendar- COMPLETED 
  • Start to update all review posts to current format - Decided to wait on this

WOO HOO!!! I completed almost everything on my list. Of course, I purposefully made the list short, with only the necessary to-do items I really wanted to do. My big to-do list comes out for the full Bloggiesta, which is coming up soon - September 20-22.


 

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Review: Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
HarperCollins
April 2013
Format: Harcover, 384 pages
Source: Personal copy


When Kate, single mother and law firm partner, gets an urgent phone call summoning her to her daughter's exclusive private school, she's shocked. Amelia has been suspended for cheating, something that would be completely out of character for her over-achieving, well-behaved daughter.

Kate rushes to Grace Hall, but what she finds when she finally arrives is beyond comprehension.

Her daughter Amelia is dead.

Despondent over having been caught cheating, Amelia has jumped from the school's roof in an act of impulsive suicide. At least that's the story Grace Hall and the police tell Kate. In a state of shock and overcome by grief, Kate tries to come to grips with this life-shattering news. Then she gets an anonymous text:

Amelia didn't jump.

The moment she sees that message, Kate knows in her heart it's true. Clearly Amelia had secrets, and a life Kate knew nothing about. Wracked by guilt, Kate is determined to find out what those secrets were and who could have hated her daughter enough to kill. She searches through Amelia's e-mails, texts, and Facebook updates, piecing together the last troubled days of her daughter's life.

Reconstructing Amelia is a stunning debut page-turner that brilliantly explores the secret world of teenagers, their clandestine first loves, hidden friendships, and the dangerous cruelty that can spill over into acts of terrible betrayal.

My thoughts: This is the first book that the book club I'm involved in, the Book Lovers Unite on-line book club, read and I thought it was a fantastic pick. I'm not sure that I would have picked up this book if not for the book club, so I'm glad they chose it.

This is the type of book that you have a hard time putting down. While I did stick to the reading schedule so as not to give any spoilers during the discussions, I really wanted to keep reading and probably could have read it in one sitting. But, having the discussions really made me think more when I was reading and to rethink about what I had already read.

There's so much going on in this book and it's easy to miss some of it if you read too fast. The way that Kimberly McCreight writes - using a combination of prose, text messages, emails, facebook posts, and snippets from old journals, along with the latest posts on the school's blog - all unite to tell a powerful tale.

Kate and Amelia had what Kate thought was a pretty good relationship. Kate worked a lot and Amelia was often left on her own, but they still managed to spend some time together. It isn't until Kate starts looking into Amelia's death that she realizes just how much she didn't know about her daughter. As the investigation progresses, secrets come out bit by bit and I found myself yelling out "WHAT?" and "OMG!" quite a few times during the last third of the book. 


One of the issues that comes up in this book, and ironically, happened to come up in another book I was reading at the same time, is the use of social media by teens. Just how much should parenting be monitoring their teenagers' use of texting, facebook and even the internet? In this case, the texting between Amelia and Ben turns out to be something much more than Amelia could ever have envisioned. Plus there's the whole issue of the school blog posts - they are quite close to being considered bullying and when we find out who the author is - it's mind-boggling!

I'm definitely going to be keeping Kimberly McCrieight on my list of authors to watch out for...this was an amazing debut and I can't wait to see what she writes next!

How do you feel about reading books that touch upon social issues? It is your kind of read or not?


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Stacking the Shelves (53) 7.21.13




Tynga of Tynga's Reviews is starting a new meme to spotlight the books we receive each week.  
    

Here's what I got:
 

For review:

Big Sky Wedding (e-book)
by Linda Lael Miller

The latest in Linda Lael Miller's Swoon-Worthy Cowboy series...can't wait to start reading this one!







Three Little Words
by Susan Mallery

This is the latest in Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold series - a series I am working my way through this year. While I'm not up to this book, I believe they are all written as stand-alones and so I should have no problem following along.




The Perfume Collector
by Kathleen Tessaro

This book has a very interesting premise and I am looking forward to reading it.









From Netgalley:

A Seaside Christmas (e-book)
by Sherryl Woods

This is the latest in Sherryl Wood's Chesapeake Shores series and I'm so excited I came across it on Netgalley - it's due out in September!
 



 
Sleigh Belles (e-book)
by Beth Albright
 
Another good find on Netgalley - the third book in Beth Albright's Sassy Belles series...also due out in September!



From Library:


Hunting Eve
by Iris Johansen

The latest in Iris Johansen's trilogy this year...I've been waiting for this one since I read Taking Eve.

The Witness (audio)
by Nora Roberts

I love Nora Roberts' romantic suspense books and have found they are great on audio!


What did you get this week?
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